Reynerio Tamayo is an artist situated –surely in spite of him– within nobody’s territory. On academic highs he gets along being taken –with a little tap on the back and an included smile– as a nice, peculiar author of graphics gags or stories seen in papers or celluloid. But as a painter or historicist does not seem to have appeared quite digestible for his possible Cuban colleagues: too subtle; excessive technical and conceptual display; thematic “gleaning…”
It is just like that his art brings out contradictions and paradoxes nearly secular in Cuban cultural context: in one part, the unwritten formal “considering” that –specially from the painting’s angle– automatically rate as inferior all humoristic graphics and comics; in other part, the poverty and mediocrity already dull in those types of art seen as a whole, from the drawing table to the media where they spread out, and where they had made such little favors several times to those unavoidable exceptions of brilliant people (let them be called Rafael Fornés, Chago Armada, Tulio Raggi, Juan Padrón or Carlos Quintana).
Tamayo roves about the painting, roams around ceramic, accepts the misunderstanding of being judged according criteria and standards fit to other ways of artistic expression… So much giddiness give the impression of being a timid excuse for the huge part of his astounding work, which explicitly tell us that he is, in the first place, a narrator of visual Fables, an artist dedicated to tell stories –the most unexpected ones, also the less boring ones. Its peculiarity lies in the learning issue, and consequently, in the media where the author has unfold his life. He is a storyteller developed academically, something like OPS’ bastard son and the painting on easel. From their sprouts the highbrow flavor of his fabled inspirations as well as the introspection –art within– of characters and atmospheres that are part of his repertoire. From there, too, the meticulous adherence to technique, and his insistence to bring forth to the stage resources, images that always appear just in time for its reproduction.
In this art there is a place for parody and for reflection on certain mythological pillars of the “high culture,” but there is also, at the same time, a quite awaken sensibility before what is specific of the Cuban social being. In that sense, Tamayo owes something to his closest contemporary colleagues, fascinated artists –from diverse angles– by the socio-political facets of their quotidian reality. Reyneiro gets inside this topic with his own voice, a voice that is tinted by lyricism and touched by an undeniable nearness to the commented happenings.
These works deserve the dignity of the gallery and sagacious attention of museums. They deserve an analysis exempt of paternalism and airs of superiority. But they deserve –rather, claim above all– be reproduced. His real achievement lies in the storybook, in the drawing album, in those diffusion media so near to the impossible among us, and nevertheless, non-renounce.